Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Keeping Paralegal Jobs in the U.S.

These days, companies are looking for as many ways as possible to save money. One of the ways they cut costs is overseas outsourcing of routine work. For example, computer companies outsource their call centers to India. Law firms have noticed and are considering outsourcing paralegal work. Sending routine documents to centers for drafting and completion seems like a perfectly reasonable way to save money, instead of paying a full-time paralegal.

However, outsourcing is not without its downsides. For starters, these centers may be breaches of attorney-client privilege. The centers may not have the same standards regarding confidentiality as the law firm, either. Document preparation may not be completed properly, especially with a language barrier and without knowledge of the laws in the jurisdiction. Legal documents can be wildly complex, and a paralegal in an overseas preparation center may not be able to catch the nuances of the English language or know the specific rules of the jurisdiction in which the document is being used.

With these two serious problems, clients will not get the best representation they deserve. True, they may have a lower bill, but they may also have their documents prepared incorrectly or face a confidentiality breach.

Outsourcing seems to create more problems than it solves. It may be a cost-effective way to handle customer service calls, but when it comes to legal documents, nothing can beat the expertise and knowledge of a paralegal trained in the relevant jurisdiction.

Read the NFPA's Position Statement on Outsourcing Paralegal Duties to Foreign Countries

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